Twitter
Contest

Courtesy of Hot Docs, enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Friday, March 29 at 8:45pm.

Contest

Enter here for a chance to win an autographed copy of Todd Rundgren's new book The Individualist and a pair of tickets to see Todd at the Danforth Music Hall on April 28

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. SHARON VAN ETTEN - Remind Me Tomorrow
2. VARIOUS - Soul Of A Nation Vol. 2
3. VARIOUS - Pop Genius Of Mickie Most
4. VARIOUS - Kankyo Ongaku
5. VARIOUS - Manchester: A City United In Music

Click here for full list.

Search
Login

FEATURED RELEASES

Tuesday
Mar192019

SIMON GHRAICHY - 33

"The first thing that strikes you about this album is the colorful sound Simon Ghraichy brings out from the instrument. This is also due to the unique timbre of the piano and the relatively close recording. The album starts with a lovely transcription by the pianist, followed by uniquely programmed set of pieces and composers, the center of which is Schumann’s “Humoreske” and “Etudes In Variation Form on a Theme By Beethoven” (based on the second movement of the Seventh Symphony).

Schumann also stands in the center of the album conceptually, with pieces such as Chilly Gonzales’ “Robert on the bridge”, a commissioned piece, with Gonzales joining in. Other connections emerge, such as the latin-sounding “Passionato” movement in the variations, resembling the short Ramirez transcription heard earlier (track 3) or the almost circular opening of the Humoreske, echoed later in the minimalist music of Philip Glass and Michael Nyman..." - The Classic Review

Tuesday
Mar192019

ROBERT FORSTER - Inferno

"...There is a surprise from the very start: loosely adapted from the WB Yeats poem Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop, Crazy Jane on the Day of Judgment is so leisurely in its intent that it’s in danger of slipping by unnoticed. The song’s two-chord groove and piano lines, however, leads you into lyrics that contemplate the passing of time, and the eagerness of the spirit blighted by the weakness of the flesh. No Fame pivots on ego and artistic privilege (“some people rise while others are happy to fall – I don’t need no fame”), while Inferno (Brisbane in Summer) leaps at you with a Velvet Underground drone-beat and a Television-like guitar lick...

...Pensive, less fractious autobiography continues in slower but just as outstanding songs. “It’s a new day, another night that I’ve survived,” 61-year-old Forster sings in The Morning. Life Has Turned a Page, meanwhile, is an affable sketch of someone else’s life, its twists and turns underpinned by unassuming melodic shuffles.

For an album that lasts a mere 35 minutes, a lot is packed into it – a few generations' worth, in fact. Aligning the confessional lyrics with music that is shrewdly textured (is that a xylophone we hear somewhere?) and nonchalantly performed, Forster achieves what is, to date, a personal best." - Irish Times

Tuesday
Mar192019

MASAKATSU TAKAGI - Marginalia

"Each track is associated with a number. #1 is a very breezy country stroll full of subtle rolls and gleeful flutters. Its unrushed approach sets the tone that #2 absolutely nails in its hushed and muted jazzy undertones. What stands out for me though is the warmth you get in a melancholy whimsy slice of life movie or anime that only Asian cinema seems to give proper sentiment to these days. #5 moves things into a floating shimmering watery world where the higher keys roll off like a butterfly wing having their own song whilst the rest of the piece plays underneath. It’s beautifully done and sounds like Takagi has four hands rather than two – a stand out for sure...

...‘Marginalia’ is such an interesting collection of piano pieces because there is an innate slow burn to almost all 13 tracks, yet they all come with their own twist on it. They either fuse with natures own soundtrack or with voices of the countryside and often it mixes that slow warm with something full of wisdom and eerie charm. Fans of Ryuichi Sakamoto will love this, but so may fans of Philip Glass too." - Higher Plain Music

Tuesday
Mar192019

STEVE GUNN - The Unseen In Between

"While Gunn’s work often touches on themes of discovery and wander, his new LP repositions him in a manner allowing him the chance to confront and reflect what he’s been searching for. Within its nine tracks, Gunn addresses matters of death, acceptance, and expectations, all of which round his music with serenity and credence, thus positioning him on the forefront not only as a quintessential narrator for our time, but a faithful guide who gently directs us revitalized and untroubled.

Within our arduous journey to seize a voice that has the ability to stabilize us is a feat all in itself. We seek those who resonate with relatability and depth; we also desire safeguards to hold close as intimate keepsakes through our own personal mania as we attempt to acquire that asylum for ourselves. Gunn’s music and perspective in every such way offers the ability to cure us from those demons and uncertainty. In his composed, unfeigned demeanor from his attributed folk-rock styling to his ability to capture a story, Unseen... serves as an exemplary marker allowing us the needed opportunity to exhale..." - The Line Of Best Fit

Saturday
Feb162019

ANEMONE - Beat My Distance

"Following last year’s terrific Baby Only You & I EP, Montreal singer-songwriter Chloé Soldevila is back with Anemone‘s debut album. It’s a nice mix of styles that manages to pull from different eras and genres — ’60s sunshine pop and yé-yé, krautrock, ’90s Madchester — into a sound that is distinctively theirs and, as Chloé puts it, captures “the feeling of driving endlessly on a sunny day with a lover, the feeling of dancing and forgetting about everything while feeling high on life.” Beat My Distance is an exceedingly charming debut album, filled to the brim with memorable melodies and great arrangements.

The album’s also a real showcase for the rhythm section, featuring  loose, Can-influenced drumming that’s recorded in an appealingly flat, Al Green style, and the kind of groovy basslines you might hear on Serge Gainsbourg or Scott Walker records. There’s also lots of old farfisa organs and junkshop keyboards, stylophone, sitar and other lightly psychedelic touches, all of which aid and support Soldevila’s wonderfully catchy songs. Musically, they’re unflaggingly upbeat but never saccharine, though lyrically it’s more of a breakup-and-moving-on record, and nearly every song could be a single. (This album also gets better on repeat listens.) I do wish there was a little more of the band’s funky side that reared its head on the EP, but we do get the fantastic “Endless Drive” (see her description of Anemone’s sound) that starts as a ballad, heads to the tropics and then goes into overdrive thanks to hyperactive vintage drum machine and layer upon layer of warm psychedelic touches. It’s the sound of pure bliss." - Brooklyn Vegan

Saturday
Feb162019

VARIOUS - This Is Lowrider Soul 1962-1970

"The Mexican, Central and South American immigrants who settled around east Los Angeles have long had an affinity for soul love ballads (aka slow jams). In recent times the scene they and their descendants initiated has intensified and spread to soul fans and collectors around the world, especially those already sympathetic to the music and intrigued by titles that were finding favour among the hip lowrider set.

The lowrider tag comes from the love of classic US automobiles which members of the scene customise to cruise the city streets. Sean Hampsey – DJ, promoter and owner of the UK’s Diggin’ Deep soul label – has teamed up with lowrider authority Ruben Molina to create Kent’s tribute to this style of music. In addition to writing The Old Barrio Guide To Lowrider Music, Ruben works with colleagues Arlene and Josh in the Southern Soul Spinners DJ team around their Southern California heartland. The SSS have also contributed titles and spirit to this compilation.

Spanning the years 1962 to 1970, the music here moves from the doo wop sound of the Vows to sweet soul harmony ballads such as the Four Tees’ ‘One More Chance’. Lowrider classics are provided by the Whispers, Barbara Mason, the Ambassadors, Brenton Wood and Lee Williams & the Cymbals, most of which are already quite well known in Europe. Brenton Wood in particular has an amazing knack of producing just the right type of music for the lowrider scene." - Ace Records

Saturday
Feb162019

BUSINESS OF DREAMS - Ripe For Anarchy

"..."Ripe For Anarchy" is a through-and-through ode to indie pop, in the historic definition of the genre. "My Old Town" and "N.R.E.A.M." could be album cuts on a Grant McLennan solo album, "Don’t Let Our Time Expire" and "Naive Scenes" could be The Smiths, the Sparklehorse cover "The Hatchet Song" bears an uncanny resemblance to Australian pop pioneers Even As We Speak, and "I Feel Dread" has the unmistakable earmarks of The Field Mice.

The deeper influences, however, are far more abstract. "I got really into FM keyboards and sampling for this album. The idea of making an album with indie pop songs filtered through late 80’s studio production was intriguing", Cunningham says. "I was listening to a lot of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Comsat Angels".

And while he may be more noted for playing guitar in chainsaw-pop stalwarts Terry Malts, New Zealand-worshipping Smokescreens, and Merge Record’s garage rock hero Mike Krol’s backing band, Cunningham is most at home making soft sounds extolling the wounded and dour. "I think music is the most personal of mediums. You can work and listen, you can run and listen, you can drive and listen. And I think I’m a misfit. If I can make the most personal music for misfits, then I’m satisfied". - Slumberland

Saturday
Feb022019

VARIOUS - Soul Of A Nation 2: Jazz Is The Teacher, Funk Is The Preacher

"Soul Jazz Records’ new release ‘Soul of A Nation: Jazz is the Teacher, Funk is the Preacher’ is a powerful new collection of radical jazz, street funk and proto-rap made in the era of Black Power (1969-75).

This new album features a number of important and ground-breaking African-American artists – The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Don Cherry, Funkadelic, Gil Scott-Heron and more – alongside a host of lesser-known artists all of whom in the early 1970s were exploring new Afrocentric poly-rhythmical styles of music – radical jazz, street funk and proto-rap – while at the same time exploring the Black Power and civil-rights inspired notions of self-definition, self-respect and self-empowerment in their own lives.

During this era African-American jazz musicians ripped up traditional definitions – rejecting the term ‘entertainer’ to redefine themselves instead as ‘artists’. They worked outside of the mainstream music industry perceiving this artistic relationship to be fundamentally exploitative and politically flawed. Artists instead formed their own pan-arts community-centric collectives, set up their own record labels, ran concerts in alternative performance spaces – art galleries, parks, lofts, community centres – all as a way of taking control of their own creative destinies...Their music developed into a radical and intense Afrocentric mix of jazz, funk, soul and street poetry, all in search of a new musical language that could better represent artistic African-American cultural expression.

All of the featured artists here were involved in this search in different ways; A shared sense of Afrocentric collectivism joined the dots between the deep avant-garde experimentalism of The Art Ensemble of Chicago (here featuring soul singer Fontella Bass singing the powerful ‘Theme de Yoyo’) to the hyper funk psychedelia of George Clinton’s Funkadelic.

The poetry of Gil Scott-Heron and Sarah Webster Fabio performed with a backdrop of street funk and heavyweight percussion laid down the template for the birth of rap. The Har-You Percussion Group, a group of young Harlem teenagers, showed how government-sponsored social initiatives helped create great art and music. Gary Bartz and The Oneness of Juju offer spirituality and cosmology. Collectives like The Pharaohs and Detroit’s Tribe add deep jazz and street funk in equal measures. And so on.

Influenced and radicalised by Black Power and civil rights, all these artists were involved in creating – in the words of the Art Ensemble of Chicago – ‘Great Black Music: Ancient to Future.’" -Soul Jazz Records

Tuesday
Nov132018

OXFORD AMERICAN 2018 Music Issue

"Welcome to the twentieth installment of the Oxford American’s Southern Music series. North Carolinians are not shy about celebrating their achievements—see: FIRST IN FLIGHT; the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves; America’s earliest public college; Pepsi; Michael Jordan—and in the realm of music, the land of the longleaf pine has had a deep and enduring influence. I will tell you right off that a lot of the stories and songs in this issue are about pride.

The profiles, eulogies, and essays herein boast of remarkable achievements of North Carolina’s musicians across eras and genres: from unassailable legends (High Point’s John Coltrane, Tryon’s Nina Simone, Chapel Hill’s James Taylor) to contemporary masters (Snow Hill’s Rapsody, Jacksonville’s Ryan Adams, Raleigh’s 9th Wonder) to the seen-afresh (Dunn’s Link Wray, Kannapolis’s George Clinton, Winston-Salem’s dB’s, Charlotte’s Jodeci)—and, of course, the often-overlooked and in-between (Winston-Salem’s Wesley Johnson, Morganton’s Etta Baker, Chapel Hill’s Liquid Pleasure, Kinston’s Nathaniel Jones, Black Mountain’s period of hosting John Cage). 

The songs on the accompanying sampler (you can listen to the CD that came with your magazine, or via digital download using the code on the card inside the disc sleeve) were made across almost one hundred years—from April 1924, when Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis cut “Big-Eyed Rabbit” on 78 rpm, to September 2018, when Shannon Whitworth recorded a beautiful new version of Ella May Wiggins’s 1929 protest ballad in Asheville especially for our mix. In between, you have moments of transcendent musical history: Coltrane joining fellow North Carolinian Thelonious Monk’s band for some months in 1957; Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson sharing a stage in Winston-Salem in 2002; Cas Wallin hollering an old ballad of Madison County into a field recordist’s microphone in 1963; Sylvan Esso reconfiguring its music live on all-Moog synthesizers in 2013; Big Boy Henry talking his improvisational blues in 1982; brothers Vernon, Doug, and Link Wray gathering around a tape recorder in their kitchen in 1952. Some of these songs have not been publicly released until now.

This is the seventh Oxford American Music Issue I’ve worked on, and it’s always rewarding to dig into the South’s bottomless musical bounty. It is with overwhelming pride and Tarheel allegiance that I introduce the music issue devoted to my home state. North Carolina, I love you." - Oxford American

Monday
Nov122018

AMBER ARCADES - European Heartbreak

"...From the stately strings on Goodnight Europe to the plea for adventure as she croons 'Everything's been done / But not by you and me' on the crisply melodic Alpine Town, this is pop music with a bittersweet centre but a sugar coating so beautifully assembled that it slips effortlessly into the deep recesses of your brain. There’s so much joy captured in the jaunty piano of I’ve Done the Best and the lovestruck Oh My Love (What Have We Done), that it’s hard to believe that when she’s not making music De Graaf is working on war crimes trials for the UN.

There are touches of the Magnetic Fields in the arrangements, the effortless melodies of Teenage Fanclub or a less abstract iteration of Beach House, but when De Graaf waltzes through the slide guitar assisted Antoine or the potent power pop of Where Did You Go she’s so perfectly in command of her medium that it’s astonishing.

There’s not a single track on European Heartbreak that isn’t a beautifully composed, shining picture postcard of emotion from a songwriter you should be listening to right now." - The Skinny

Monday
Nov122018

DOUG PAISLEY - Starter Home

"Plenty has changed for Doug Paisley since his 2014 album Strong Feelings. He’s a family man now, which prompted him to take a break from touring and recording—though not, it seems, from writing. Which brings us to one thing that hasn’t changed: the Toronto singer’s gift for spellbinding subtlety on songs that take quiet hold of your heart and refuse to let go.

Paisley’s tunes are understated enough that they stick in your head without you even noticing, until you’re going about your day and humming one of his melodies and wondering how it got there. He takes a minimalist approach to the nine songs on Starter Home, focusing mostly on acoustic guitar and his warm, slightly rumpled voice. There are adornments here and there from violin, keyboards and steel guitar, which add texture and atmosphere to songs that seem unassuming until you listen closely enough to hear just how devastating they are...." - Paste

Friday
Oct192018

GONZALES - Solo Piano III

"Some people just make beautiful music. You can, as a listener or a writer, seek the best descriptions of what the music does, how it makes you feel, where it takes you to, but when all is said and done, some music is just beautiful. It's an overused term, the kind that adorns press releases, posters, and social media so as to be rendered less powerful than it once was, but, and at the risk of repeating myself I have to say it again, when music is beautiful, it just is. Such is the case with Solo Piano III, the dazzling new record from Chilly Gonzales.

The title should give you a clue: there are two more of these albums which are more than worth your time too. If you're looking for the kind of music which will simultaneously relax you and gently convince you of the sheer beauty of the piano as a solo instrument then this album is for you. The 15 compositions showcased here paint a picture of Gonzales as a master of his instrument. Whether you're initially grabbed by the flowing arpeggios of "Nimbus," the blues-y flow of "Cactus Impromptu," or the sinuous groove of the aptly named "Present Tense," which demands both the attention of catching of breathyou'll soon find yourself wondering why you'd not given Chilly Gonzales time on your stereo or your heart before. This is an album that both delights and haunts. The solo piano is a potent force in the right hands. Lovely." - Under The Radar

Friday
Oct192018

LALA LALA - The Lamb

"At its core, The Lamb is an album about a lack of control. It operates between two poles, shifting between paranoia about the apocalypse and the insular struggle of rewiring your brain during struggles with addiction. Both of them stem from feeling like you have no say — over your actions, your destiny, or what might happen to you at any given moment.

She translates those anxieties into songs that feel like wired fever dreams. And putting those murky thought loops that possessed her mind into something concrete like music helped West come to terms with the fact that the doomsday probably isn’t right around the corner. That realization comes with its own set of fears and troubles, but for right now just existing seems like enough: “As I’m seeing now, more often than not, people continue living and things don’t explode,” she says. “I keep going on planes and they keep not crashing.” - Sterogum

Thursday
Oct182018

SMOKESCREENS - Used To Yesterday

"Smokescreens began as a love letter to the Flying Nun scene of the 1980’s and it’s outlying bands. Chris Rosi and Corey Cunningham had become friends when the pair toured together in their bands Plateaus and Terry Malts in 2011. By 2015 both had moved to Los Angeles where they began the band in earnest with Rosi on guitar and Cunningham on bass. After getting their sea legs playing the bars and bowling alleys of Southern California, the duo recruited engineer/drummer Jon Greene to help them commit their shambolic paeans to kiwi pop onto tape. Recorded in a disused dairy factory and mixed in mono, their self-titled debut came out on Cunningham’s label Parked In Hell in February of 2017 and was reissued by Spain’s Meritorio Records later that summer.

After the passing of Jon Greene, the pair re-grouped with drummer Brice Bradley and bassist Jenny Moffett, a move that enabled Cunningham to switch to lead guitar and keyboards. The group worked tirelessly, nurturing their sound and writing batches of songs with steadfast dedication. They soon decamped to Primitive Ears, a small studio in North Hollywood, where they tracked the 10 songs that make up "Used To Yesterday." After a handful of quicksilver sessions, the group brought the tapes to producer Kyle Mullarky (The Allah-lahs) who created a final mix that really captures the band's rhythmic drive and melodic verve.

"Used To Yesterday" continues Smokescreen’s zeal for New Zealand pop but also incorporates influences from the more melodic side of Messthetics-era DIY pop and expands into classic indie pop territory, a natural fit for the group’s new label Slumberland Records. First single "The Lost Song" perfectly encapsulates where the band is coming from on this new record; literally a lost demo from the group's earliest days, it is here given a NZ-meets-Athens GA arrangement, galloping along at an urgent clip and packed with guitars that strum and jangle in magical unison.

Where Smokescreens really excel is in the quality of their songwriting and the ability to incorporate a disparate set of influences while still forging their own sound and identity. The song "Used To Yesterday" is classic power-pop, riding a chunky three chord riff and leavened by a bright, clanging lead. Elsewhere we find nods to The Velvet Underground ("Fool Me"), The Clean ("Someone New") and SF's beloved The Aislers Set ("Waiting For Summer"). Smokescreens are such skilled writers and keen students of sound that their cover of the über-obscure NZ band Wasp Factory's "Steel Blue Skies" fits in seamlessly. Album closer "Falling Down" could be a lost single from LA's paisley underground and definitely leaves the listener itching to hear where the band goes next." - Slumberland

Friday
Sep072018

SPIRITUALIZED - And Nothing Hurt

"J. Spaceman makes music that can fill Royal Albert Hall. For nearly three decades, his band Spiritualized has turned space-rock into a spectacle worthy of crystal chandeliers and velvet seats, complete with choral, horn and string arrangements. The last 10 years, in particular, have yielded the positively lush records Songs in A&E and Sweet Heart Sweet Light, which throw back to the orchestral bluster of late-'60s Scott Walker and The Beatles at their most extravagant. But when making a new record, J. Spaceman (a.k.a. Jason Pierce), like every other musician struggling in an economy unkind to artistry, could not afford excess time in a lavish studio. So he bought a laptop and got to work.

 Not that you would know it just by listening, but And Nothing Hurt makes a living room sound like a cathedral.

"I wanted to make like a 1960s Columbia Studios recording, but without ever going to the studio to put that thing together," he told KEXP. "And it seemed kind of dumb. I don't know what went down. I became so obsessed."

J. Spaceman learned the ins and outs of home recording in his East London abode, using a cast of musicians just as ambitious as on his standard fare, painstakingly layering sound on sound to get bigger and bigger. (To complicate the process, he had to book 10 different studios to record instruments he couldn't quite capture at home.) "I'm Your Man" is a sterling example of his ambition: Its warm, Stax-style horns are swirled in psychedelic R&B, culminating in a sky-high guitar solo. "Let's Dance" is deceptively stripped back, a charming space waltz that builds with piano here, guitar there, and then slowly adds a Beach Boys-style boom boom tsh to what eventually becomes a synth-and-horns carnival of sound.

There are a few rockers, as well, perhaps in a nod to 2001's Let It Come Down. Both "On the Sunshine" and "The Morning After" set the R&B rave-up to raging speeds, culminating in a cacophony of feedback, free-jazz saxophone and drums. But J. Spaceman is quick to temper the noise with something like church, especially in the spectral slow burn of "The Prize."

J. Spaceman's soulful quiver has sometimes blended into the sonic wallpaper of past Spiritualized records. And Nothing Hurt almost foregrounds him by necessity — you can imagine the Englishman hunching over a microphone in his home as he tenderly sings the album's closer: "If I could hold it down / I would sail on through for you / If I weren't loaded down / I would sail on through for you." Like much of the record, it's not necessarily hopeful, but he knows there's something ahead." - NPR

Monday
Jul302018

VA - Agnes Obel: Late Night Tales

"This is an unusual, beautiful and dark album curated by — and at times performed by — the Danish musician Agnes Obel. It's part of a series of artist-curated albums called Late Night Tales. Nils Frahm, The Flaming Lips, Jon Hopkins and others have put their own records together for the series in the past. For her Late Night Tale, Agnes Obel has chosen music from a wide variety of artists — from the soul of Nina Simone to the wit and wisdom of The Kinks' Ray Davies, the lush strings of Henry Mancini, the quirkiness of Can and the ethereal Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir. Somehow she has managed to stitch it altogether.

My first listen to this album was transporting. Agnes Obel says that she "collected all the songs together with my partner, Alex Brüel Flagstad and we just spent time listening to records, trying to see what would fit together. Some of the music I've included here is on mixtapes we made when we were just friends as teenagers. Each one of the tracks produces stories in my head."

Included with these older tracks are three new, original songs from Agnes, including a collaboration with the Danish poet Inger Christensen's work, "Poem on Death." I suggest you hit the play button and listen to the songs and read Agnes Obel's descriptions. This is truly a rare listening experience I'm thrilled to share." - NPR

Saturday
Jun232018

MICHAEL RAULT - It's A New Day Tonight

"It’s too bad Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks already called their album Sparkle Hard earlier this year, because that simple little phrase would work well as the name of Michael Rault’s sophomore effort. Not so much thematically, that is, but sonically. The record—actually titled It’s A New Day Tonight—glimmers like a taut pop-rock song pouring from radio speakers in the ‘70s. Warm tones, breezy melodies and the sugary strum of guitar strings crackle under crisp production. It’s a timeless sound...

...There are plenty of ‘60s and ‘70s touchstones here, but the biggies are The Beatles, The Kinks and Big Star. Those are big footsteps to trace, yes, but Rault is certainly capable, and It’s A New Day Tonight offers hook after hook after hook draped in a credible vintage sheen by folks that understand vintage sheen. As long as you’re not allergic to classic pop-rock earworms, it’s a solid record that deserves repeated spins." - Paste

Tuesday
May222018

FRANCOISE HARDY - The Despair Of Monkeys & Other Trifles: A Memoir

"Françoise Hardy has had quite a career. She rose to fame as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s. She was part of, if not in the forefront of the yé-yé movement (a style of pop music originating in Europe in the 1960s). She scored many hits in her native France and around the world. “Tous les garçons et les filles”, “Et même”, and “Only You Can Do It” (“Je veux qu’il revienne”) were her biggest international hits. She was also a model, actress, author and expert on astrology...She is not shy about sharing her personal life. Her friendships and relationships make this book near impossible to put down at times. She writes the book very matter-of-facty and without judgement. This is quite refreshing. Her meeting of Nick Drake is an interesting read and her description of Mick Jagger (“bewitching”) is also quite fascinating. She is also very open about her unique marriage to French singer, Jacques Dutronc (with whom she is still legally married)...

The Despair of Monkeys and Other Trifles: A Memoir was originally written in 2008 in French. It has taken a number of years for the book to be translated into English, but it does not take away from the book. It is still a worthwhile read. Besides being a great autobiography it also provides a look at an era, or rather multiple eras and ways of life that no longer seem to exist. The book also features some never before seen photos of Hardy and her friends." - Spill Magazine

Monday
May212018

SHACKS - Haze

"The first thing you notice about almost any song by The Shacks is that voice. Singer Shannon Wise wields a mesmerizing wisp, silky and lambent, like curls of smoke swirling into a moonlight sky. If it sounds familiar at all, it may be that you caught the Apple iPhone ad last fall that featured Wise, singing the group's 2016 cover of Ray Davies' "This Strange Effect," as she walked through different Los Angeles backdrops. (It's not every day that one of the richest companies in the world essentially shoots a music video for you.)

Wise has had a good track record with "strange" songs; producer Max Shrager first worked with her when he invited Wise to sing on "Strange Boy," a 2016 single by Brooklyn's El Michels Affair, which led directly to the two forming The Shacks. With their debut album, they've continued to perfect a sound that accentuates the subtleties of Wise's vocal instrument. She doesn't have the range or volume of more conventional pop and soul artists, so The Shacks have learned to boost its presence through smartly stacked overdubs and woozy sheets of reverb. Is it any surprise that the group has named its album Haze? 

Key to their style is how The Shacks embrace of a wide range of influences that owe as much to American R&B and British rock and roll styles of the '60s as it does '80s and '90s indie- and dream-pop..." - NPR

Saturday
Apr282018

SONNY SMITH - Rod For Your Love

"On his own, or as leader of Sonny and the Sunsets, the engaging Sonny Smith specializes in finely observed vignettes about everyday people that showcase his wry, slackerish voice. For all its rough edges, though, there’s nothing casual about his scruffy garage pop, which tempers a streak of melancholy with offhand, self-aware wit. Produced by Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach (who knows a thing or two about making eccentricity accessible), Rod for Your Love is Smith’s most commercial effort yet—it’s all relative—boasting a brighter sound and sunnier vibe than before. Witness the jaunty, toe-tapping optimism of the irresistible “Lost,” where he chirps, “I know the way this time,” or the romantic drama “Burnin’ Up,” featuring Angel Olsen’s tangy harmonies. While Smith may never top the charts, he’s never been more entertaining or more deserving of mainstream attention." - Mother Jones